The snake was part of the performance being held at a village in West Java. Irma was known for her ‘goyang ular’ (snake dance moves) and had performed with various kinds of snakes in the past.
According to Irma’s mother, Encum, most snakes are defanged and have their mouths taped shut when they’re onstage. Somehow this snake was made part of the performance without either precaution and the singer did not realize that she had been bitten by a poisonous snake.
She was rushed to the hospital, where she was declared dead. Irma Bule’s case highlights the poverty-stricken lives of young women in Indonesia. They perform on stage in skimpy clothes in various villages hoping to make it big. Performing with snakes gets them around Rs 1,700; while without snakes, they make around Rs 1,300. It’s no wonder then that many choose to perform with pythons and cobras.
The video of the snake handler taking the cobra off Irma has been gaining steam on social media. We’ve shared it below but would like to advise viewer discretion as it may disturb some viewers.